We are incredibly lucky to have some of the best merchant corridors in District 2 — including Chestnut, Union, Fillmore, and Sacramento Streets, and Laurel Village. Unique businesses from all sizes and kinds contribute to our city’s economy and define our community’s character.
I am looking forward to celebrating our merchant corridors during San Francisco’s Small Business Week from May 14–19. We’re blessed to have dedicated neighborhood and merchant leaders and associations that work tirelessly together to support our small businesses and merchant corridors. In March, I had the pleasure of meeting with District 2 merchant leaders and Capt. Joe Engler of Northern Station to discuss how we can work together to empower our merchants, to ensure our commercial corridors are prosperous, and to bring special events to our neighborhood commercial districts.
My office continues to collaborate with the San Francisco Council of District Merchants on the same goal. I look forward to continuing to work with more local businesses and making sure our beloved neighborhood businesses continue to grow and flourish in our changing economy.
It is important to me as your District 2 supervisor to support our merchant corridors and to help ensure they are thriving for our neighborhoods. In a busy and congested city, it is more important than ever that we can walk to a neighborhood grocery store, a local coffee shop, gift store, or other important neighborhood-serving businesses. Not only is it convenient, but it helps to build a strong sense of community. I’ve heard so many stories over the years of the special relationships and bonds that are formed between our neighbors and merchants, and when we lose a business that has been serving our neighborhood for decades, it has devastating effects for many.
The vibrancy of our city is dependent on the strength of our small businesses. I am concerned just like many others I’ve heard from about how they are going to survive in a competitive market. With the onset of online retail, we have to continue to think of creative ways to ensure our small businesses adapt and thrive.
I am especially concerned about vacant storefronts on our commercial corridors throughout District 2. I am working with our Office of Economic and Workforce Development on legislation that will require property owners responsible with vacant properties to register them with the Department of Building Inspection so we can better track vacant storefronts. If they fail to register, then they will be fined at an amount set to deter complacency and bad behavior.
The intention of this law is to prompt owners to improve abandoned buildings, restore them to proper code, and have them returned to community use. It is vital to understand the causes for vacancies, but also to take advantage of the tools available to bring new businesses to life. I will not just sit idly by while storefronts remain vacant and add blight to our neighborhoods.
I also hear from constituents about concerns with public safety and street cleanliness in our merchant corridors. I recently brought together a group of our District 2 merchants with Captain Engler to connect and collaborate on ways to partner to keep our corridors clean and safe.
As a member of the Budget and Finance Committee, I will fight for more resources to keep our merchant corridors clean and to provide additional public safety improvements. We need to attract more residents and visitors to our local small businesses and to do that, we need to ensure our corridors are bright, fresh, and protected.
I am also championing programs that celebrate and protect our historic small businesses through the Legacy Business Program. The Legacy Business Registry works to save longstanding, community-serving businesses that have operated in San Francisco for more than 30 years. Legacy businesses, which are nominated by a member of the Board of Supervisors or the mayor and accepted into the program by the Small Business Commission, receive marketing assistance, business services assistance, and legacy grants. So far, I have nominated California Wine Merchant, Marina Super, and Fireside Camera — all businesses that contribute to the neighborhood’s identity and character on Chestnut Street, and I’m working my way through all our merchant corridors. I look forward to nominating more businesses, including Deleuse Jewelers and the Silver Cloud Restaurant and Karaoke Bar on Lombard Street. The Legacy Business Program is another tool to help promote our local businesses. If you have a legacy business you think should be nominated, please let my office know at [email protected].
As your supervisor, I will continue to promote and take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with our small business merchants. For example, the recent Easter and Spring Parade hosted by our Union Street Association was an incredible success. Every year, it is a unique chance for businesses to come together and promote their goods and services, while bringing our families and residents together from across the city. I look forward to working with our merchant associations to bring more community events to District 2 and ensure our merchants thrive.